Policy Research: Predicting Risks in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Bosnia and Herzegovina, a nation with a complex political landscape and a history of ethnic divisions constituting its fragile national identity, is undergoing significant challenges that pose various risks to its stability and development. The report assesses these risks as very high in political aspects, medium in social dimensions, high in economic factors, and low in geopolitical areas, with specific emphasis on the implications for the ReLOaD2 program.

Political Risks (Very High): The report highlights the extreme political polarity between Serb and Bosniak populations, contentious election dynamics, and high levels of corruption as major political risks. The tension between the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska, particularly after the enforcement of the genocide denial law and subsequent responses, exacerbates these risks.

Social Risks (Medium): Social risks are fueled by extremism, sectarian divides, and high crime rates. The entanglement of ethnic and religious identities contributes to social unrest and challenges in fostering cooperative youth engagement, a primary target of ReLOaD2.

Economic Risks (High): Bosnia faces significant economic challenges, including high unemployment rates, particularly among youth, and soaring inflation. These economic hardships could impact the effectiveness of ReLOaD2 in mobilizing the youth for democratic participation and local governance.

Geopolitical Risks (Low): The report notes low geopolitical risks with potential long-term implications. Relationships with neighboring countries like Hungary, Russia, Serbia, and Kosovo, while not immediately threatening, could influence Bosnia’s future stability and regional dynamics.

The report concludes that while Bosnia and Herzegovina is navigating through a complex array of challenges, careful consideration and strategic planning are essential for ReLOaD2 to effectively foster youth participation in the democratic process and local governance amidst these risks. The program needs to be mindful of the intricate political, social, and economic landscape of Bosnia and Herzegovina to achieve its objectives.

Main Author: Zhuangyan Shi

Co-authors: Hyeeun Lee, Erica Li, Seth Jessoo Kang, and Yingbo Wang

Research Paper Type: Eastern European Risk Analysis Paper

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